Please Help Me Gear Up For My First Half Marathon
February 8, 2015 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I have two more long runs before the actual race in March and I'd like to break in everything I plan to wear/take in the next week or so. Can you MeFi runners suggest some good gear? List of what I think I need inside.

OK, as something to keep in mind, I sweat SO MUCH. Sigh. Doesn't matter if its cold or hot out, if I run more than five steps I'm drenched. The marathon will be in southern Utah in March so the temperature range is everywhere from snowy and cold to upper 70's.

Anyway, can you guys suggest...

REALLY RELIABLE Bluetooth headphones (the sweat-proof kind). I HATE having a cable attached to my phone when I run, but I fear the blue tooth will drop out too much and leave me stranded with no tunes. I know I wouldn't finish if I didn't have my music to drive me.

Bag for carrying things that doesn't bounce around on my waist. I think I will need to carry a small water bottle, some Kleenex, my phone with its extra battery, and maybe an energy bar or something. Does that sound about right or am I "over packing?" I know I will need my phone (Galaxy S5) to play my tunes at least, and the extra battery is built into the case, so the phone is bulky and weighs a bit more than your average cell phone.

Hat (I have an allergy to sun- yes that's a thing- so I need a broad brim that wont flop around when I run).

Sunscreen that wont wash away in all my sweat but wont kill me if it gets in my eyes.

Shirt that wicks and dries (long sleeve version with thumb holes preferred).

Any suggestions that you know from personal experience work well are VERY appreciated. Also if you have time to give advice or suggestions on anything other than gear I'm all ears. I'm doing this with two other first timers so we are all a bit nervous and REALLY appreciate any helpful tips and suggestions.

Thank you MeFi!
posted by WalkerWestridge to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried a SPIbelt? Obviously, you don't want a water bottle in it (you could get a Nathan belt with water bottles, but I personally hate carrying water while I'm racing and always just use the aid stations).

As for a hat, go to your local running store and get a tech hat that will wick away sweat and has UV protection.

If any race is over 60 degrees at the start, I only wear a sports bra and shorts/skirt. No shirt unless it's a very loose fitting singlet.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I'm training, I like the Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones, although the fitting process can be a little finicky at first.

Before you get too invested in the Most Awesome Headphones, check to make sure they're allowed by your race organizer. In my neck of the woods it's common for headsets to be banned for safety reasons (many races are not on fully closed roads).
posted by dorque at 1:27 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Energy bars often requires a lot of water to eat, so you want to look at either energy beans or goos (although I bought a honey-based bar thingie that was pretty decent). Make sure to try out whatever 'fuel' you're bringing on the half, on a long run before-hand, to make sure whatever it is agrees with your stomach. Apparently sometimes the really sugary ones can upset people's stomach and that's the last thing you want when you're miles away from a toilet.

I'd find something smaller to bring than your phone, if you can (after checking to make sure you can even listen to tunes on the run, of course).

You might look at a water bottle that sits at the small of your back, or a small camelbak backpack, depending on how much water you think you'll need.

Make sure you have good polarized sunglasses.
posted by canine epigram at 1:42 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding the suggestion for an SPIbelt -- it won't fit a water bottle, but it's perfect for all of the Gu or other quick energy supplements you'll need for a half. I don't know how your training has worked out so far but I'd need more than a single energy bar for that distance.

For long races where the race water stations aren't sufficient, I use a water bottle that has a hand strap. Took me a while to get used to it, though, and it helps to run with it a few times to see how it changes your gait.

There are a lot of arm straps for the iPhone that are made of fairly sweat-resistant material. Shirts and the like are all pretty lightweight these days, so your running store probably has plenty in stock as far as that goes.

Finally, this also depends on how you've felt during training, but if you're prone to chafing, don't forget the Body Glide!
posted by informavore at 1:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like the Flipbelt because it can hold a little more stuff and bigger phone than the Spibelt (which I also like). Only put waterproof electronics in it though (your S5 should be fine!), because things will get wet from your sweat.
posted by blub at 2:25 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am a fellow sweaty over-heating mofo when I run. I am that weirdo that you see running in just a short sleeve tee & thin(ish) leggings, when it’s 30 degrees out. My recommendation would be to just keep an eye on the weather, but dress for how it would be if you were just walking around, with 30 degrees added to the start temperature. Maybe a thin layer you can throw away or leave at an aid station (something inexpensive and that you can part with - so maybe from Goodwill). I both lose and generate heat from my hands, so cheapo dollar store gloves (I noticed Target had two pairs on sale for $3 last week) are great for starting out, but removing once your body warms up. Or don a nice heavy duty garbage bag that you remove just before start.

Not bluetooth, but I like yurbuds (available at Target, Best Buy, Amazon, possibly Ross, TJ Maxx, etc) - they really do stay in my ear. They have a cord, but I wear a SPIbelt on my hips with my phone, run the cord under my shirt, and clip it to my sports bra or shirt collar with a mini binder clip. Don’t laugh! It really helps to keep the cord in place, and any possible cord-pull-down under my shirt. It totally does the job and keeps me and my headphones happy even on 10 mile runs.

Your race will likely have aid stations with water and/or some kind of sports drink. I don’t run with anything more than my phone (and headphones) and house/car key, so I don’t have any gear recommendations. SPIbelts come in a variety of sizes - I have both a regular and large version, which both fit my iPhone 6 but I can sneak a gel pack or something into the larger one, if necessary.

I recently bought this Brooks hat. I like it. It has adjustable velcro in the back so I can tighten it as needed.

As for clothing, do NOT wear new clothing on race day. Wear whatever you wear on your long runs, and are happy with. There’s no need for special clothing - wear what you generally wear, with maybe some minor adjustments. In general, don’t do anything new on race day - treat it like a special long run, with your normal running habits.

I ran my first half marathon 3 weeks ago - it was awesome! The best thing I can recommend, would be to remove your headphones, or mute the music for the last couple of minutes. I NEED music to run, but in the last bit, take them out. Listen to your breathing and feet, and any spectators, and soak it in. Enjoy your accomplishment!

Best of luck on your race, and have fun!
posted by raztaj at 2:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Depending on the aid station situation, you may not need to carry your own water. I've done two halfs- one was part of a Big Time Series and the other was a much smaller local race- and both had plenty of water available.

I also find that too much water sloshes uncomfortably when I'm running and I'm a major sweater too. I mostly like a mouthful or two of water to wash down a Gu or two along the way.

I think Kleenex will get too sweat soaked to be very useful- could you bring a handkerchief or similar instead?

I like this Nike half zip for running in long sleeves, although I find the sleeves get too hot for me on long runs unless it's seriously freezing. The half zip is nice because you can wear it zipped if you're cold at the start and then unzip it for venting as you warm up. Nthing the recommendation to avoid wearing new clothes on race day; I was unhappy to find out that my favorite short sleeved shirt chafed under my arm when I wore it for my race after not wearing it for long runs (I still have a mark a few weeks later :/).

Good luck!!!
posted by MadamM at 4:23 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I found that gummi bears work well as fuel for me. They're easy to fit in a plastic baggie in a spibelt or whatever too. A stick of lip balm is nice to have, especially if youre on the slower side, and will be out on the course for a while. Check the event map out - there might be enough water stops where you don't need to bring your own.
posted by Fig at 4:50 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

You wont necessarily need it in the race but for the love of God don't forget lubrication. Grease yourself up good before you start.
posted by smoke at 5:49 PM on February 8, 2015

I am training for a half now and I got an amphipod belt instead of a spibelt because it was bigger, breathable, and the zipper was at the top so I can pull items out without losing anything. I think you can attach water bottles to it but I don't carry water with me.
posted by MariJo at 6:34 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

-make sure you've got a couple long runs on your shoes.
-consider compression socks, if for no reason than to hold gu packets. They don't jounce.
-dress for 30 degrees warmer. So shorts and a singlet down for 40F.
-the race may have water stations. If they do, don't carry water, except maybe a bottle to pitch at the start.
-Lube. I use the stuff that's in a mini deodorant-stick looking thing. Lube the side of the ball of your feet, the outer edge by your pinkie toe, and all around the margin of your heel pad. Lube your inner thighs, both lower and higher than you think, and going back on your glutes almost to your butthole. Lube the shit outta your nipples. If need be lube the inner edge of your triceps.
-If you have a cranky stomach, wake up early and drink a quart of water to force yourself to shit.
-Keep your phone in your hand.
-Take a couple advil, and keep a couple extra in a ziploc in your socks.
posted by notsnot at 8:01 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

For sunscreen, I use either Neutrogena or Coppertone Sport. Don't apply it on your forehead. Your cap covers that area and you don't want sunscreen dripping in your eyes. Use Bodyglide for chafing protection.

Placing your phone in a sandwhich size ziplock type baggie adds an extra layer of moisture protection and you can still use the touch screen. And it works well if you have pockets in your clothing.
posted by TORunner at 8:03 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not gear related but the best piece of advice I ever got about running: If you can run half of it comfortably, you can do the whole thing no problem.

It sounded crazy to me but was totally true. Before my first half marathon the furthest I had ever run was seven miles (but I routinely did seven miles). The only problem I had running the full thing was boredom.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 5:44 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

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